The Tale of the Cigar
For the record, I really would like to request ideas that will not leave my head until they are written down in some form to keep better hours and let me sleep more on my off days. I am just throwing that out there kind of universally. Just a suggestion. Anyone who is listening that may have an impact on the situation, I would prefer more sleep before having to do these things.
All that being said, my wife has a friend who is a cigar smoker and is endlessly fascinated by the topic of cigar smoking. As a result, he also believes that everyone else would and should be endlessly fascinated by the subject of cigar smoking. Like a broken clock that is right two times a day, he sent her over email something that was actually…endlessly fascinating. It was a youtube video of a contributer to Cigar Afficianado magazine talking about the perfect way to light a cigar.
During his travels, he was in Mexico at the family of a local beauracrat who treated him to what he called a traditional Mexican dinner. He stated that as in all truly traditional Mexican dinners, it ended around 11:30 at night. After the dinner, the host asked him if he would like a cigar. The man said “Would I?” excitedly and the Mexican host pulled out some of his finest cigars and handed him one. No stranger to cigars, the man immeadiately pulled out his clip and clipped the cigar – lit t- and began to enjoy.
The Mexican host was nearly offended. He asked the man if he had any idea what the proper way to light a cigar was. The man thought “I just lit the thing, didn’t I?” The Mexican host shook his head and said “Wait, I will show you.” Carefully, slowly, and deliberately, the Mexican host removed the cigar from its wrapper. Carefully, slowly, and deliberately, he laid down three matches. Wooden matches long and tall. Then over a golden bowl, the Mexican host lit the first match on the table. He put the cigar over it and turned the cigar over the match on the end of the tip. He did not cut the tip off. The guest watched expectantly and asked why he had not cut off the tip.
The Mexican host said “Think of all that you lose when the match strikes the air. Think of all that is in the tip. Think of all the taste and Inatural aroma that is changed immediately…no this way is better.” The Mexican host engaged his guest in discourse. He was always looking down at the cigar, always talking but never taking his focus off and talking about whatever the guest wanted to speak of. The guest talked with his host, but he was still focused on when the tip was going to be cut off. He was also focused on when the cigar was going to be actually lit.
The first match got down to the point of nearly burning the Mexican hosts finger. He put out the match on the golden tray and quickly lit the second match. Again, the tip was not cut off. Again, he placed the fire next to the tip. Again, he turned it. Again, he started talking to the guest about other things. But even as he was engaged in discourse, again his concentration never left the cigar or the turning or hold the flame at the proper angle. Again the match went nearly down to the hosts’ finger and again he put the match out and moved to the third match.
Surely he was done and with the third match, the host would cut off the tip and simply light the cigar? No, the process did not change. The host took the third match and lit it. He slowly rolled the cigar over the match as he did the other two and continued talking to his guest. To the guest astonishment, the procedure had not changed and yet there was no fourth match. Slowly and deliberately the cigar was turned over the flame. Slowly and deliberately, the host never wavered in his concentration in rolling the cigar or left his duty as being a host engaging in discourse with his guest. Finally, tantilizingly, the match nearly again hit the Mexican hosts finger. And he put out the match.
With carefully timing and percision, the host then reached for his cigar clip and clipped off the enge of the cigar. He put the cigar in his mouth and took a drag long and comfortably. He then exhaled the drag. The cigar once the tip was cut off had already been lit by being put over the flame and was not released until it was time.
I saw that video and (not being a cigar smoker) a deeper meaning was imparted on me. As Christians, we should realize that God will never waiver from his duties or from his plan. Like the guest, we don’t see how the plan will ultimately unfold. Like the cigar, all we may feel is that we are being slowly turned over and open flame. But His concentration or His purpose in getting everything absolutely correct so that we are ready for His purpose never waivers. His eyes are always upon us and He is always working with us. Even though, we may feel like He is not paying attention or focusing on other things with the discourse of a guest.
All too often in society and even in our Christian walk, we are like the guest. Naturally, we know how things should be done. We have lit cigars hundreds and thousands of times. We know what we are doing. We take the way that is easy and immediate. We do not take the way that is correct and intended for the fullest extent. We also do not often understand what is going on or that we were in facr being prepared for a greater purpose the entire time.
There are many times in my life when I have looked back and seen the Majesty of the Plan after it was finished. I saw how things happened the way that they happened and could ot have happened any other way or more perfectly. Even though the action at the time seemingly had nothing to do with the goal. It is the actions taken by faith and not understanding that I have grown to cherish the most in life. I do not know why anything happens. I do not know particularly why I needed to write this at 8:18 eastern standard time on my day off. But God does. He has a plan. He knows who needs to read this right now and who cannot wait any longer even though I could have certainly gone back to sleep and not written it.
God bless. The path is dark and uncertain but the Guide is wise and knows where He is going. Its a slow burn but I guarantee the end result will be like magic.